How many words should a blog post be? Well, depending on who you ask, you’ll likely get a different answer. Unfortunately, the frustrating answer of “it depends” is the only accurate one you can give to this question. Helpful we know. Many factors affect how long a blog post should be.
What stage of the Buyer’s Journey you’re looking to target, the styles your audience best engage with and SEO best practices are examples of factors that will affect the length of your blog. For us, there’s no optimum length for a blog post. Just as many words as it takes for you to explain what you want to and in the manner that you need to get the message across.
Again, that’s not very helpful - so, before we give another vague answer that’ll likely make you want to smash up your phone or laptop, we’ll jump into everything you need to know about how many words a blog post should be.
- How many words should a blog post be?
- Write for your audience, not to broad guidelines
- Content first... SEO later
- Consider the Buyer’s Journey
- Does it add value to the reader?
- Will your persona engage with it?
How many words should a blog post be?
It’s a question that we’ve all asked our strategists at least once in our careers - “however long it needs to be.” And you leave the conversation even more confused than before asking the question. Sound familiar? Well, the confusion doesn’t end there when you start researching how many words a blog post should be.
You get a different answer wherever you look. For example, popular SEO plug-in, Yoast suggests that blogs should be over 300 words. Is that not a little short? Well, HubSpot rivals this at the other end of the scale and says the optimum blog post for SEO performance is over 2000 words.
So, it’s no wonder that content marketers are confused. The different guidelines out there are based on different factors. A lot of the recommendations are based on SEO best practices - what is the optimum word count for Google and other search engines to love your blog? If you’re looking for a definitive number - you’re going to be looking forever as it doesn’t exist.
Write for your audience, not to broad guidelines
The truth is, each audience is different. And within your target audience, you’ll have various buyer personas who are all different too. Therefore, how can you base your content length on generic research and guidelines? If you’re going to be effective with what you produce, you can’t.
Before word count even comes into the equation, you should always make sure that you’re writing towards the right target audience. It doesn’t matter how many words your blog posts are, if they’re not written correctly or use engaging language, they’re not going to be successful.
So, instead of obsessing over how many words your blog post should be, obsess over whether it appeals to your audience or not. As you could position your post at the top of the relevant SERP, but if your post isn’t relevant to your audience, it doesn’t matter how many words it is - they won’t make it past the first 100 if it’s irrelevant - FACT.
Content first... SEO later
Again, a lot of content producers are guilty of this one. If you’re writing to suit SEO best practices as the main priority, rather than trying to add value and engage with your audience, you’re doing it ALL wrong. Your priority should always be quality content - not the opportunity to hit the highs with your rankings.
Sure, SEO is important - we’re not denying that. But strong SEO on a poor blog doesn’t automatically make it a good blog, does it? If you’re writing trying to cram in as many keywords as possible, your natural tone and flow are going to suffer. This means that your overall blog quality will suffer and you’ll create a poor piece.
Consider the Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey will have a massive impact on the word count of your post. For example, when you’re educating people for the first time around a subject, particularly if it’s technical and complex, you’re going to need to explain things more clearly. Therefore, it usually means more words.
Whereas, when reading consideration and decision stage content, your prospect will be more familiar with products and services, so they won’t need as much background information. That being said, you could fill the word count by comparing to competitors or going into extreme technicalities in the latter stages of the journey.
You should always consider the Buyer’s Journey. A decision-staged prospect wouldn’t appreciate recapping information in detail that they’re already familiar with. And no stage of the journey will appreciate waffle. Waffle is filler that adds no value to the reader - rather than fill your blog with empty content, be confident with the word count being just right.
Does it add value to the reader?
You could write over 2000 words of rubbish and weak content and compare it with a strong, valuable 750 words content piece - we know which one will be more well-received and successful. As long as your piece adds value to the reader throughout, who cares how long it is? Word count should not be a huge priority when writing, however, value should be.
Word count isn’t going to make your audience click and stay on your blog. Whereas, if somebody clicks through and can instantly see the value that’s packed into your effort, they’ll stay no matter what the word count is. However short or long you’re planning on writing your posts, you need to make sure that value is provided throughout.
Value can stretch from entertainment to education - and everything in between. Introduction too long? No value. Unbelievably long and hard to understand sentences? No value. Confident, clear and relatable language to the audience - increased value. Make sure that your content always adds value to the reader.
Will your persona engage with it?
Persona engagement is a lot more critical than the word count. When outlining personas, businesses should look to profile the best ways in which their audience will consume information - that should give them an indication into how much spare time they have a day to engage with content marketing. This should always be taken into consideration when dictating your word count.
For example, if your persona is a busy professional, they’re unlikely to have the time to sit through reams and reams of content and will learn better from quick wins. With that in mind, producing long pieces of dry content wouldn’t be beneficial. They simply wouldn’t engage with them due to time and concentration purposes.
You’ll generate better results through shorter, more fun pieces that are worth the time in the day to read. So, never think that there should be a set word count for all of your personas. It depends on how they learn best and how much time they have on their hands to research. In that case, there’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint that works for word count with personas.
Concentrate on producing amazing content marketing
For incredible results, you need to produce amazing content. That means, not filling your blogs with waffle and poor quality work, just because you think you need to hit a certain word count. As you’ve seen from our post, guidelines for word count are generally a myth - it all depends on the various factors that we’ve discussed as to how long your posts are.
Once you can see past the need to hit a certain word count, you’ll automatically start producing stronger, more valuable content. Remember, as frustrating of an answer that is, the length of your blog post should be… “it depends.” Thankfully, you now have the factors that it depends upon and aren’t left wanting to tear your hair out.
To help you further with your content marketing, we’ve produced a free guide that includes everything you need to know how to nail it every time. However, it’s not quite ready yet - but it won’t be long. For more information about content marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.